Suzanne L. Bissonette, JD
Chief Executive Officer
Sue Bissonette has a long and storied career with Cazenovia Recovery, as she’s been with us since 1996. Under her leadership, the agency has grown substantially. We only operated four programs when she started, but we’ve expanded to nine today. “I’m proud of how the agency and its services have grown,” she noted.
Her foresight and guidance have played a major role in the agency’s successes these last few years, from opening innovative programs, to prioritizing housing, and especially in assuming the operations of numerous programs from struggling providers. Since assuming the operations of these programs, we’ve become a major provider in Niagara County, and we’re delivering services in new and exciting ways. Sue’s always remained at the forefront of the field and consistently prepares the agency for future changes.
Through all of our growth, Sue knows how important our staff are to the agency’s success. “The staff really are one of the best parts about my job,” she said. “We all work really hard together,” she said.
Sue holds a Juris Doctorate from the University at Buffalo, and has a bachelor’s in Community and Human Services from Empire State College.
Andrea Ocasio, Advanced CASAC
Director of Clinical Services
Andrea has been with Cazenovia Recovery since 2010 has over 20 years of experience in behavioral health. Today, she oversees the operations of our Rehabilitation and Reintegration programs. Andrea also ensures that the best possible clinical services are being provided throughout the agency. Our success over the last few years can be attributed to the decisive role Andrea has played. Through her leadership, our programs have adapted well in demanding times.
Gratitude is a major value that Andrea promotes in her work. As such, she is grateful for the dedicated work of our staff. Their unyielding support for our residents has made Cazenovia Recovery what it is today. “We have a great reputation because we do so much and we’re thorough,” said Andrea.
Andrea has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Buffalo State and an associate’s degree in Substance Use Counseling from Erie Community College. She is an Advanced Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) and is certified in trauma counseling.
Jay A. Swarthout, LMHC
Director of Program Development & Evaluation
Jay directs managed care, medical services, compliance, and intake operations throughout the agency. In turn, he’s responsible for diversifying our funding and developing strong relationships with managed care providers. “This is a huge challenge but also a very valuable opportunity,” he said. Not only does Jay believe this to be a beneficial development for the agency, it is also an exciting one. “We have a lot of talent on a number of levels that are working on this,” he said.
Thanks to Jay’s considerable experience, our agency is well-suited to adapt to the changes coming our way. His background includes extensive experience as a clinician, administrator, educator, trainer, and program and system developer in working with individuals with trauma, criminal justice, developmental disability, and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder issues.
Jay joined Cazenovia Recovery in 2017. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from SUNY Fredonia and is a NYS-Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). He is also Adjunct Faculty at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, Vice President of the Board of Directors for Restoration Society, Inc. and a therapist with Give an Hour, a grassroots, volunteer veterans’ project. Jay has been recognized by Erie/Niagara NAMI, the Mental Health Association of Erie County, and the Western New York Chemical Dependency Consortium for his community contributions and service.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Ed oversees all aspects of the agency’s communications and marketing. He joined the Cazenovia Recovery team in 2014, and built the agency’s marketing efforts from the ground-up. Not only that, he successfully managed our recent rebranding process. “I’m proud that our new brand demonstrates the strength of our agency while reflecting the vibrancy of people with substance use disorders,” he said.
Likewise, he’s passionate about telling uplifting stories throughout the nonprofit sector, and has ten years of experience with local nonprofits. “The community needs to know about the life-saving work we’re doing every single day,” he added.
Ed has a bachelor’s degree in Art from the University at Buffalo and a master’s degree in International Relations from Webster University.
Angela Angora, CASAC2
Director of Reintegration Services
We brought Angela on board in 2013 to manage Liberty Hall, our former program in Batavia for homeless veterans. She quickly became such a valuable part of our team that she began overseeing other programs throughout the agency, as well. In 2018, she became our reintegration manager and now manages the operations of our Reintegration programs.
“Reintegration is so important,” Angela said. It’s a critical point in the journey to independence for people with substance use disorders. Typically, residents begin looking for jobs or start going back to school during this period in their recovery. “When people have things to look forward to and be proud of, they’re much more successful,” she said.
Angela has fifteen years of experience in behavioral health and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community & Human Services with a concentration in Counseling from Empire State College. She is also a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC).
Director of Food Services
In 2018, we hired Jane Gajewski as our food services manager. She has extensive experience in food service for nonprofits and large-scale residential facilities. In fact, she helped another nonprofit in the area develop their standardized menu from scratch. Now, she’s doing the same for us.
Jane manages our food service specialists and facility assistants. In addition, she’s integrating food service and nutrition across the agency in a way that promotes health and wellness for our residents. Jane has been in the food service industry for over 35 years and is enthusiastic about offering healthier options to the people we support.
She recognizes that we have a wonderful opportunity to teach our residents healthier eating habits. “I believe it will make them more successful once they walk out the door,” she said. “At the end of the day, knowing that food service played a part in the recovery process is very rewarding.”
Jane has dual associates’ degrees in Dietetic Technology and Food Service Management from Erie Community College.
Director of Finance
Jenn has been a member of Cazenovia Recovery’s team since 2018 when she started as our Accounts Payable Coordinator. She was later promoted to Senior Accountant, and now she’s serving as our Director of Finance.
Numbers come naturally to Jenn, and she enjoys the “more analytical” approach found in financial and accounting work. That’s what drove her to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Buffalo State College in Finance and Economics with a minor in Business Administration.
She lives in Elma with her husband and two children. Together, her family enjoys the ample outdoor activities that Western New York has to offer. Hiking is one of her favorites. Jenn also likes to cook, though she admits that she’s “not very good at it.” However, those who’ve tried her dishes at our Administrative Office’s holiday potluck lunches would disagree.
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